If you have been finding yourself stuck in a traffic jam often no matter which road you take, it is because there are 93,432 more vehicles on Mumbai’s roads this year, as compared to 2009.
Data available with the state transport department reveals that until March 2010,
57,846 two-wheelers and 30,118 cars were added to the city’s roads - this means at least average 300 two-wheelers and 200 cars were registered every day.
These numbers could have risen further since March 2010.
The total number of vehicles on the roads in Greater Mumbai that includes the central, western and eastern parts of the city is 17,67,798. It has increased by 93,432 since 2009.
In contrast, the number of buses, taxis and auto rickshaws used as public transport increased by only 5,083 until March 2010.
Public transport is just 9.2% of the total vehicular traffic on the road and it grew by only 3.1% last year.
State transport commissioner Dilip Jadhav believes that public transport in the city is adequate, but not comfortable enough to stop people from buying cars. “It is a fact that the number of cars has increased tremendously in the last two years. Even two-wheelers have emerged as the popular mode of transport,” Jadhav said.
“We have adequate public transport but they should provide more comfortable services,” he added. City-based transport experts believe that public transport in Mumbai is better than any other city in India but it is still inadequate for the city’s needs.
“People in Mumbai prefer buying cars and 60- 65% car owners keep drivers to avoid the stress of driving. The sole reason is overcrowded and uncomfortable bus and train services,” transport expert Sudhir Badami said.
Environment activist and transport expert Rishi Agarwal held the state government and civil society responsible for the city’s growing traffic problems. “If the rate of cars on the road keeps growing by 5% to 8% every year then by 2020, Mumbai will suffer a great block. The roads are not growing with the number of vehicles. There is a need for proper planning,” Agarwal said.
Badami said implementing congestion tax and starting the Bus Rapid Transit System to encourage people to use public transport might help.
According to Jadhav, the state government has directed the transport department and Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority to come up with solutions. The UMTA will monitor more than 24 transport-related bodies in Mumbai to strengthen public transport.